I was asked to write a letter of encouragement to a friend who is just stepping into the role of lead pastor’s wife. I feel as if I could pen an entire book of how I’ve failed, what I’ve learned, scriptures that I’ve clung to. But I haven’t been in this ball game that long. What would I say? As I have been praying over what the Lord would have me include in the letter, I’ve felt the tug to share this here.
I’ve come to believe over the years that our role is just as important as our husband’s. No, we don’t always counsel as much, study as much or attend as many conferences. But we are called to be helpers. And I mean that in the warrior, “khayil”, understanding of the term. We are called to nurture, to fight for our husbands. We’re called to care for the shepherd’s soul that is watching over many souls. What an “in” Satan could have if he could thwart, twist, discourage, embitter that crucial part of our husband’s leadership. It’s an all-out war, sisters. I have watched his tactics first-hand and seen him tear down a people brick by brick, beginning with the wife of the pastor. But rather than letting that frighten or discourage you, I hope you’ll don your armor, pick up that Sword, and get ready to fight on your knees.
- Pray against resentment. When we first stepped into ministry, Nathan being away helping the church brought me great joy. There was a shine to it all. I enjoyed taking care of things at home so he could serve well, lead well. He has always been cautious to balance home and church to the best of his ability. But then resentment began creeping in. I let thoughts, lies, take over. Believing he didn’t care as much about us. Believing we weren’t his first priority. Believing my role was little and insignificant in comparison. Resentment breeds division, anger, and bitterness. Pray against this. (I Corinthians 13:4-7)
- Pray against isolation. Many advised me that I would always be an outsider. I would always feel like I lived in a glass house, never able to confide in a sister in our church family. Never able to be open, honest, vulnerable. That is filth. Find your people. You need them just as much as they need you. Seek out heart friends. Find someone who can pray for you and you for them. Pray for a mentor. If you find yourself trying to avoid all church functions, something is wrong. Talk with your husband. Let the church love on you and care for you. (Hebrews 10:25)
- Pray against sexual immorality. This might seem like a shocker, like this is beneath you. But none of us is beyond any sin. Pray for and continually pursue intimacy with your husband. Run, flee, from any hint of sexual immorality: books, television shows, situations that could make you vulnerable. Be on guard and seek to be filled with first the love of your Father and content with the husband He has gifted you. (Ephesians 5:3)
- Pray for your marriage. For strength to love sacrificially. For a desire to fight to protect your time together and your unity. Pray for a marriage that reflects the love of the Savior for His Church. For a joyful submission to your husband’s leadership. For a willingness to seek counsel when you find yourself stuck in the same cycle of conflict. (Ephesians 5:22-33)
- Pray for joy. Yes, ministry can be hard. There are days when you learn things about people that disappoint you deeply. When you weep for your brothers and sisters as you carry their burdens. However, the joy of the Lord is rich and constant and contagious. There is great joy in His presence. Joy in His word. A joy that doesn’t depend on our circumstances or waiver with time. (Philippians 4:4)
- Pray for a mind fixated on truth. I believe our greatest battleground is our mind. We must, MUST, be daily in God’s word and in prayer. Throwing out lies and putting in truth. Meditating on it, chewing on it, believing it. Allowing Scripture to pierce, convict, encourage and train us. (Philippians 4:8, Hebrews 4:12)
- Pray for a true love for the Church. These people are your forever family. Pray for a heart that sees past the actions to the heart. Pray for eyes of compassion. Eyes that our Shepherd sees through. Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her. Pray for the Spirit to work within you to create that same love and desire for sacrifice. He is able. So able. (Ephesians 5:25)
Sister, you are seen, you are known, you are loved by an Almighty God who has called you to this and will equip you for the task ahead. Most people will never understand all the work you do. And there’s a sweet beauty in that. Only being seen by your God. Cling to your Rock of Ages. He is so good and so faithful and His Church is a gift to you as you are to them.